Shang-Chi: How Marvel Edited a Comic to Hide a Kung Fu Character’s Appearance – CBR – Comic Book Resources

In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, learn how Marvel had to edit a comic book to disguise the fact that it was guest-starring a Kung Fu TV star
In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, see when
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and sixteenth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. Click here for the first part of this installment’s legends. Click here for the second part of this installment’s legends.
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Marvel edited a mustache on to a character in an issue of Shang-Chi’s comic book to disguise that it was meant to be Caine from the Kung Fu TV series.
True
In case you did not know (and CBR’s Kristen Callaghan just recently wrote about it), the original inspiration for Shang-Chi was the popular 1970s TV series, Kung Fu, which starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk searching the American West at the end of the 19th century looking for his half-brother.
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The creators of Shang-Chi, Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, were immediate fans of the series, so their decision to do a comic book based on the series (which turned into a brand-new character inspired by the show instead) came before Kung Fu even became THAT popular.
In any event, after losing out on the chance to adapt the show directly, Englehart and Starlin instead created Shang-Chi for Marvel in the pages of Special Marvel Edition, which soon saw its title changed so that instead of it being an anthology series, it would be a Shang-Chi solo series. However, Shang-Chi’s creators were not long for the character. Shang-Chi was introduced in Special Marvel Edition #15 and it became Master of Kung Fu with #17, which was Starlin’s final issue on the series and then Englehart left after #19. Before Englehart left, though, he wanted one last tie-in to the Kung Fu TV series…
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Starlin’s initial replacement on the series as artist was Paul Gulacy (inked by Al Milgrom). Gulacy later returned to the series for a famous run on the book with writer Doug Moench. Here, though, he drew Englehart’s final two issues.
In #19, Shang-Chi runs afoul of the monstrous Man-Thing, who can burn anyone who experiences fear while touching him. He is saved by a mysterious stranger…
The stranger then introduces himself as Lo Sun…
But because we have eyes, we all know that he is obviously based visually on Carradine’s Caine…
This allowed Englehart to have his new creation have a heart to heart with the character that inspired him…
However, Marvel felt that it was TOO obvious of a likeness, especially since Kung Fu was a show about, you know, kung fu, so after Gulacy finished the issue, Marvel had someone draw a mustache on to Lo Sun throughout the issue. Moench later recalled to Jon B. Cooke in TwoMorrows’ Comic Book Artist #7, while noting that no one had ever bothered them during their time together on the series (when they had cameos and facial likenesses of a number of major characters), “There had been an earlier problem when Paul drew David Carradine and they actually had to go over Paul’s artwork and put a mustache on the David Carradine character, but for some reason, when we were doing it, it all slipped by and there was never any problem. “
I believe when the issue was reprinted in England in the pages of The Avengers #36, the original artwork was published, but I don’t have a copy of the issue to confirm.
Thanks to Doug Moench and Jon B. Cooke for the information!
In the latest Movie Legends Revealed – Learn how Jamie Lee Curtis almost quit Halloween: H20 over the Michael Myers “Death Clause.”
OK, that’s it for this installment!
Thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don’t even actually anymore, but I used it for years and you still see it when you see my old columns, so it’s fair enough to still thank him, I think.
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is [email protected] And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well! Also, if you have a correction or a comment, feel free to also e-mail me. CBR sometimes e-mails me with e-mails they get about CBLR and that’s fair enough, but the quickest way to get a correction through is to just e-mail me directly, honest. I don’t mind corrections. Always best to get things accurate!
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See you next time!
KEEP READING: Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Almost Had a Completely Different Debut
CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over a dozen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you’d like to see featured at [email protected]!

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